Today is our final day on this 50-day journey! Amen, praise the Lord, Hallelujah (you’re probably thinking). If you’ve actually come this far in doing this daily devotional, first let me say that as pastor I am very thankful for your steadfastness and your dedication and your desire to grow in Christ.
I hope this has been a key turning point in your life and that God has truly given you insight from His Word of both who you are in Him and what He demands from you in obedience.
What’s the end vision that I as your pastor have for our church family? I desire to see God create a gospel-centered culture where everyone connected with Emmanuel is being conformed to the image of Christ through an intentional disciple-making process.
Who we are comes before what we do. Our identity comes before obedience and yet we are called to experience both.
We are called to live as disciples who fulfill God’s Great Commission of going, baptizing and teaching.
We are discontent with the status quo of a church culture where all we experience is a Bible study class with no real transformation. We don’t just want information but transformation.
We want to both know and actually obey the Word of God.
We want to consistently live out the gospel “one another’s”.
We want to be challenged to lives as missionaries in our culture
We want to see leaders reproducing leaders.
This can most effectively happen in a disciple-making small group.
But how does this happen without the sovereign power of a mighty God? We can’t force God’s hand to do this! We can’t manipulate God! He is not obligated to do any of this for us!
And yet as we have seen over these past weeks through the Scriptures, that this vision of being a disciple-making church comes directly from the pages of the Bible. It is God’s vision for His people.
So the most important attitude we can have as we move forward as a church is this…humble yet confident desperation.
Humble because God owes us nothing and we are totally dependent on Him. Confident because we serve a magnificent God who can do all things. Desperation because we cannot do this in and of ourselves. This is a quantum leap in the way we think about church life and our individual discipleship.
Only God in His sovereign grace and power can fulfill this vision.
Read Daniel 9:3-4 and then 17-19
This is another recorded prayer in Scripture which gives us great insight into how we ought to pray. Daniel is desperate for God to move and you can hear the passion in his voice.
He is fasting, praying, weeping, and earnestly confessing sin and calling upon his Sovereign God.
It sounds like Daniel is actually commanding God to act! He is praying very boldly.
Can we ask boldly? Can we come with anguish and want God to work quickly? Can we come to our Heavenly Father with persistence and want Him to move?
Yes, but the answer comes in verse 18 when we adopt the proper perspective about God and the proper perspective about us as His creation.
Notice that Daniel says that he is not praying and asking these things because of his righteousness. In other words, Daniel is saying to God: I don’t bring anything to the table. I’m not worthy for you to even answer these requests. God, I cannot manipulate you. I cannot demand you. I cannot somehow twist your arm to respond. In fact, I don’t even deserve an answer from you because the only thing I contribute to this equation is my weakness, sin, and total dependence on you. I can offer you nothing. I cannot offer you my righteousness.
So the basis for Daniel’s prayer is not his impeccable character or even his faithfulness or obedience or steadfastness or his stellar record as God’s man in Babylon. We can’t appeal to our resume!
So then, what is the basis for this prayer and for all prayer as a matter of fact?
The basis for it all is on God’s great mercy.God is not obligated to answer. God is not obligated to move and act. God owes us nothing. But because of His great mercy, and because He is a wonderful heavenly Father, He will give us what is best.
Notice I didn’t say He will give us what we want. But He will give us what is best.
Here’s the bottom line when it comes to praying and asking God to move and to act and to answer. Here’s what we should say after we’ve poured our hearts out to God.
Father, whatever will bring you the most glory and whatever will conform me the most to Your Son Jesus, that is what I want. Is that what you want? Can we all honestly say from the depths of our hearts that we desire God’s glory over all and that whatever happens to us we want to be conformed to the image of Jesus?
I want to end where we started by reading our two key Scriptures.
Read Romans 8:29 and 2 Corinthians 3:18
As you look back over these past 50 days, do you begin to see this process of transformation happening in your life? Is God doing a deep work in your soul to show you more of Himself? Can you truly say that you have been looking more and more like Jesus?
This is just the beginning. A 50-day spiritual journey is just a tool to get you heading in the right direction. Where you go from here will truly determine your level of growth and obedience.
Who are we?
We are chosen, loved, and accepted in the Father, purchased, forgiven, and righteous in the Son, and indwelt, empowered and sanctified by the Spirit.
We in turn love and seek the glory of God above all things.
We in turn treasure and submit to Jesus in all things.
We in turn wholly depend on the Holy Spirit for all things.
As disciples, we are marked by being:
- Sent out as missionaries into world
- Baptized into a family of believers
- Learning the Word of God so that we can obey
And the best context for us to do this is in a disciple-making small group where we can actually:
- Know and obey the Word of God
- Practice the gospel “one another’s”
- Declare the gospel as missionaries
- Reproduce leaders
So that the end vision would look like this: A gospel-centered culture where every single person connected to Emmanuel Baptist Church would be conformed to the image of Christ through an intentional disciple-making process.
Read Ephesians 3:20-21
May this be your individual prayer as you continue to grow in Christ and may this be our corporate prayer as a church family as we continue to seek God’s will for our future.
To Our Father in Heaven,
We bow before your throne in humble adoration and give you all praise and glory. We know that you are able to do more than we can ask and think because of Your great power at work in our lives. We want you to receive all the glory in our church as we live out our identity in Christ and our obedience to Christ. May you truly make us look more and more like Jesus every single day!
FOR YOUR GLORY ALONE,